Students Move in, Start Classes

Students Move in, Start Classes

August 22, 2022
Contact:  Rhonda Jessup, Director of Public Relations

MOUNT OLIVE – University of Mount Olive freshman Olivia Rossi of Valvert County, Maryland and her parents, Jim and Michelle Rossi, paused for a photo under the welcome banner at Kornegay Arena Saturday before beginning the task of moving Olivia into her residence hall.

UMO President and First Lady, Dr. H. Edward and Phyllis Croom, were among those faculty and staff members helping students with the move-in process.  Volunteers from the Crooms’ church, Pleasant Hill Free Will Baptist Church, also helped throughout the day, as did other groups.

“This is an exciting day,” Dr. Croom said. “These are brand new freshmen, and today is the start of a new tenure for them.  We look forward to seeing what they accomplish in the next few years.”

Dr. Croom noted that the Class of 2026 is diverse.  “This morning I have talked with folks from Sweden, England, Hawaii, and lots of other places both near and far.  We are so happy that they have chosen UMO for their educational pursuits,” Dr. Croom said. “We are a big family here, and by the time these students graduate, we will know each of them by name.”

Freshmen Cynthia Thomas of Reidsville, NC chose to attend UMO for its animal science curriculum. A member of the Trojan track and field team, her goal is to attend a veterinary school to become a surgical veterinarian.  “UMO is a good place to begin that journey,” she said. “There are only three schools in North Carolina that have an animal science major, and UMO was the best option for me.”

UMO’s nursing curriculum and winning lacrosse program are what attracted Bel Air, Maryland freshman, Madison Dow to Mount Olive, North Carolina. “I wanted to come down South,” she said.  “After talking with UMO’s head lacrosse coach and visiting campus, I was all in.  I love it here.  I am excited to be pursuing a degree in the University’s newest, state-of-the-art nursing program.”

Dow’s dad, Chris, plans to come to many of his daughter’s games.  “The five-and-a-half hour drive is not bad,” he said.  Dow’s mom, Amy, says she loves the campus.  “It is a great campus,” she said. “I feel confident that Maddison is safe. She has good friends, good coaches, and good mentors.  I feel comfortable leaving her here.”

Trinity Frayer of Hiddenite, NC (located near Statesville), plans to major in veterinary bioscience.

“I was trying to decide between NCSU and UMO,” she said. “After touring both, I liked UMO way better. UMO’s size is perfect for me.”  A member of the Trojan track and field team, Frayer plans to become involved in clubs and other activities, including FFA.

Frayer’s mom, Michelle, said, “Trinity has been ready to go for a month.  It is a bittersweet day for me, but I am excited for this new chapter in her life.”

During UMO’s annual move-in on Saturday, August 20, approximately 350 new students settled into the UMO campus.  Activities throughout the day included free give-a-ways at a variety of welcome tents, lunch, and a reception for students and parents hosted by UMO President and First Lady, Dr. H. Edward and Phyllis Croom.  At the reception, Mt. Olive Pickle Co. introduced guests to some of their most requested pickle products.  Afterwards, parents said their goodbyes and departed campus.  The University ended the day with its traditional candlelight ceremony and convocation in Kornegay Arena followed by big prize bingo.

Classes are set to begin on Tuesday, August 23.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University is sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists. For more information, visit